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Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee

Chair Mark D. Siegel, MD New Haven, CT
Vice Chair David M. Chooljian, MD, JD Loma Linda, CA
Vice Chair Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD Philadelphia, PA
Committee Member Kathleen M. Akgun, MD, MS West Haven, CT
Committee Member Sarah Beesley, MD Salt Lake City, UT
Committee Member - PAR Representative Kerri Connolly Danvers, MA
Committee Member Elizabeth L. Daugherty, MPH, MD Baltimore, MD
Committee Member Erin S. DeMartino, MD Rochester, MN
Committee Member - ATS President David Gozal, MD, MBA Chicago, IL
Committee Member Roni Grad, MD Tucson, AZ
Committee Member Paul N. Lanken, MD Philadelphia, PA
Committee Member Thomas B. Leonard, PhD Ridgefield, CT
Committee Member - ATS President-elect Marc Moss, MD Aurora, CO
Committee Member Richard K. Murray, MD North Wales, PA
Committee Member Cynda H. Rushton, PhD, RN Baltimore, MD
Committee Member Elisabeth Sacks, MD, MPhil Pittsburgh, PA
Committee Member Kathleen F. Sarmiento, MPH, MD San Diego, CA
Committee Member Leslie P. Scheunemann, MD, MPH Pittsburgh, PA
Committee Member Leonard Sicilian, MD Boston, MA
Committee Member Narong Simakajornboon, MD Cincinnati, OH
Committee Member - CCR Representative Jag Sunderram, MD New Brunswick, NJ
Ex-Officio - Immediate Past President Atul Malhotra, MD La Jolla, CA
Staff Shane McDermott New York, NY
Staff John Harmon New York, NY

The Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee recommends to the Board policies for addressing biomedical ethical issues as well as organizational ethical issues, including conflicts of interest. Its goal is to ensure that the ATS is ethical in conduct and effective in advocacy on ethical issues important to the patients we serve. The Committee monitors relevant policies of other societies and reviews recommendations from healthcare experts, ethicists, and other resources to maintain the professional standing and integrity of the Society in all of its affairs. In addition, it serves as a resource to review issues of ethics and conflict of interest for the ATS and advises the ATS President, Executive Committee, assemblies and other relevant committees on rapidly emerging issues related to biomedical and organizational ethics, including conflict of interest.

Benchmarks for 2016-2017:
• Identify, prioritize, and begin to address needs for improving ATS educational and networking resources on biomedical ethics issues, with an initial emphasis on members and use of existing ATS programs such as:
1. The ATS website and other internet and social media-based communications. Recommend and assist in making improvements in ethics information available on the ATS website, specifically, by September 2016;
2. The International Conference, with particular attention to programs for fellows and residents. Complete and submit a proposal for a postgraduate course on applied ethics for the 2017 International Conference;
3. Assembly and committee meetings and activities.

• Assess member awareness and utilization of existing ATS guidelines and statements addressing biomedical ethics issues, such as the policy statements on Responding to Requests for Potentially Inappropriate Treatment in Critical Care Units and on Managing Clinicians’ Conscientious Objections in Intensive Care Medicine, and identify, prioritize, and begin to address needs for improvement. In particular:
1. Complete an initial assessment and make initial recommendations by September 2016;
2. Explore development of case studies to supplement existing statements and enhance their perceived value.

• Identify and prioritize needs for updating or developing additional ATS guidelines or statements on issues of ethical interest in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. Give attention to end of life care issues and to ensuring involvement of patients and/or patient advocates, in particular.

• Oversee the implementation of existing ATS policies for managing conflicts of interest (COI) in official ATS activities, with particular emphasis on the development of ATS clinical practice guidelines and ATS continuing medical education, including CME-designated sessions at the International Conference, in collaboration with the Documents Development and Implementation Committee, Education Committee, and International Conference Committee respectively. In particular:

1. Oversee and contribute to the development and availability to members of ATS “case law” on COI that summarizes the application of ATS COI policies to specific issues, such as the composition of clinical practice guideline panels and management by chairs of involvement of experts with relevant conflicts of interest.
2. Collaborate with the Education Committee in COI aspects of maintaining ATS accreditation as a CME provider and provider of maintenance of certification resources.
3. Develop a means of assessing the impact of current COI disclosure and management strategies on perceptions of bias resulting from conference presenters’ commercial ties and other declared interests.

• Oversee the implementation of the new Policy Regarding Professionalism and Ethical Conduct affecting participants in official ATS activities, and recommend action steps and/or potential improvements if needed.